Twelve-year-old Hardy has moved to the mountains with his widowed mother. The boy loves exploring the land around the family cabin, looking for signs of generations gone by. Hardy makes an unlikely friend, Lily Mae, at his new school, and she joins him on his outdoor adventures. The two amateur explorers befriend Maddy, an old woman living in an even older, remote house. When something terrible happens to Maddy, Hardy and Lily Mae are warned to stop their hunting for suppressed clues about the local history. Hardy persists anyway, and his final discovery draws him even closer to his exploring companion.
Through the characters and events in this story, readers are invited to reflect on the deep struggles of race and identity in America with new insight and fresh hope.